Authorities say new measures in Beijing are toughest ever.

In September, Beijing unveiled a package of measures to cut air pollution over the next five years. That includes the dangerous PM 2.5 particles.

Autumn should be the best season in Beijing, but the city is shrouded in smog. So where is the pollution coming from?

The Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, a non governmental organisation, has been assisting the government to identify and locate pollutant sources.

“The sources of pollution aren’t just in Beijing. They’re also in surrounding regions. A considerable part of pollution comes from neighbouring cities. Take the state-controlled pollution sources for example. Beijing has 10, Tianjin has 31 and Hebei has 288,” said Ma Jun, Director of Instiyute of Public & Environmental Affairs.

The institute has drawn a map of China’s air pollution, locating more than 4,000 heavily polluting enterprises, accounting for 60 percent of total emissions.

Ma Jun says the institute is letting the public know who caused the pollution and where are they. With that knowledge, the public can help supervise these enterprises and urge them to reduce emissions.

Ma Jun’s idea has been backed by the Beijing and Hebei governments. From January next year, emission sources will be reported to the public every hour.

This winter heating system in Beijing’s Haidian district is replacing a coal-fired boiler with a new gas boiler. That will greatly reduce emissions of dust and sulfur dioxide.

Under the clean air plan, over the next five years, combined heat and power plants will gradually replace decentralized coal-fired boilers in chemical engineering, papermaking, dyeing and tanning industry clusters.

“Compared to previous air pollution control measures, we can say the Beijing Clean Air Plan is the toughest,” said Yu Jianhua, Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau.

The plan aims to cut the density of inhalable particulate matter by at least 10 percent in major cities nationwide by 2017. PM 2.5 particles are supposed to fall by about 25 percent from 2012 levels in Beijing and surrounding provincial areas by 2017.

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